Illegal border crossing from Mexico into the United States is a hot-button topic of late, but what happens if someone enters Canada illegally?

“Every year, there’s a number of incidences, and a lot of them are accidental,” said Sergeant Bob Thomas of the RCMP. “People will drive through a port and not realize it’s a port of entry, which seems to be something that people may not understand, but it does happen.”

He noted that many of the accidental crossings outside of ports of entry are done by hunters.

“Everybody that’s coming into Canada should be going through a port of entry and reporting to the CBSA,” he said. “We have 12 ports in Saskatchewan that you can go through, two are 24-hour, that’s at the Regway port of entry and the North Portal port of entry near Estevan.”

Thomas noted that there are protocols for handling cases of port circumvention. They consider the reason or purpose behind the illegal entry, such as not realizing they have even crossed a border, or having forgotten identification. They determine the person’s citizenship and decide from that point what to do with them.

“If we intercept them, then normally we would take them to a port of entry, and it would get sorted out between customs and border protection on the other side and CVSA on our side because the rules have to be followed regardless,” he explained. “You have to report at a port of entry to those officers, so once that’s done, then it’s up to the U.S. customs or the CBSA to deal with how they’re going to process them.”

“If you pay attention to what you’re doing, you can get into Canada safely,” he added. “We’re trying to ensure that we’ve got secure trade and travel between the two countries, and that’s the only way to do it.”

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